A man who led police on a low-speed chase for more than an hour and a half around the streets of Napier has told a court he did not know the vehicle he was driving was stolen, and denied it was the reason he refused to stop.
The denials were made by forestry worker and Black Power member Jamie Lesley Jones, 30, of Napier, as he gave evidence in his defence at a trial before Judge-alone Geoff Rea yesterday in Napier District Court, where he faced a charge of unlawfully taking the vehicle and three charges of burglary relating to the theft of boats.
Jones had previously admitted charges relating to the chase which began about 11pm on March 7 and ended with a spaghetti-like track of movements of the Toyota Hi Lux as it continued through the suburbs into the early morning running on its wheel rims after the tyres were blown out by road spikes placed in the streets in an attempt to end the chase.
He was sentenced in July to three months' jail, and having already served the time on remand was released on bail pending yesterday's hearing.
But he denied taking the vehicle which had disappeared from an address in Tait Dr, Greenmeadows, on February 27, or being involved in its use for stealing boats, including one incident captured on CCTV footage and widely viewed on Facebook.
Represented by Napier barrister Philip Jensen he appeared yesterday with 30-year-old Palmerston North man Jason Matthew Chilvers, who, represented by Phillip Ross, pleaded not guilty to one charge of burglary.
Sergeant Malcolm Lochrie appeared for the police in a hearing which after five hours was adjourned for the police and defence counsel to provide written submissions, with both accused remanded on continued bail to appear in the court again on November 22.
Police produced evidence of images of the stolen boats and the vehicle from Jones' phone, along with text messages relating to them.
But Jones said that at one stage, for four days during which messages discussed the use of bolt cutters, his phone was with a "cousin" he refused to name in court. When asked why not he said: "I'm a Black Power member. It would put me in danger."
He said he had first seen the vehicle in Raupunga and he made arrangements to swap it for cannabis.
Jones denied stealing the boats, telling the court he had never been charged with burglary before, but agreeing that he had been prepared to be involved in selling the property.
Mr Jensen agreed when the judge asked: "You defence is that he [Jones] might be guilty of a lot of things, but not the things the Police have charged him with."
Two of the boats were found at Raupunga and one in Palmerston North.